Top 10 Reasons It’s Better to Rent Than Buy

Owner, Renter Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.The biggest benefit of renting is, of course, flexibility. Many of the other reasons play into that fly-by-night spirit. Add any additional reasons in the comments below!

1. It’s Easier to Be Spontaneous. You think you may want to move to a new neighborhood, new city, heck, new country? Find a subletter and you’re done. Not all landlords accept subletters but, to be honest, I’ve never had a problem. I’ve had a variety of landlords and as long as the subletter passed a background check, I’ve been fine. The last two times I needed one was in February and November (low rental months) respectively, so… it’s very doable. 

2. Much, Much Less Handiwork

My husband and I can laugh about it now, but we had such a delicate little WC in our last rental. It worked sometimes and then… not. It got to the point where we had no shame whatsoever in calling the handyman because it was routine. And, then, the landlord just flat out replaced it. While we spent time bemoaning its existence, all we did was lift a finger to dial the phone… and that was the extent of our involvement.

3. Less Money Up Front

For a 2-bedroom apartment in Chicago that rents for $1700, you probably need around $5,000 up-front to cover two months rent (first and last) and a security deposit. It’s not cheap. But compared to a down payment, it’s much more manageable.

4. You Don’t have a Reliable/Regular Salary. Yet.

It will be much harder to secure a loan if this is the case. And, practically speaking, you won’t be able to change your mortgage payment by moving or bargaining. So… it’s harder to accommodate a job loss or pay reduction.

5. You Don’t Have Good Credit. Yet.

Good credit doesn’t matter most of the time. You can go years without it mattering, assuming you aren’t digging yourself further in debt. However, good credit does matter when you need to qualify for a mortgage at a good interest rate. If you don’t have a good credit score, spend a year or two improving it before investing in a condo. You’ll save yourself buckets of money. 

6. You Don’t Know Where You Want to Live. Yet. (City or Neighborhood)

It’s a general practice that you should plan to spend at least five years in your condo/house before re-selling. If you think you may want to move in a year, or the year after, or the year after that… renting is for you. 

7. You’re in a new relationship

Buying can get weird if you’re in a new relationship and living together is on the table. It can be done, surely, but before buying a place based on this new relationship or based on one person’s preferences, consider renting. That way, you can decide your future as a couple, instead of being stuck in a too-small place with a roommate or in a too-big place, without one.

8. You Have Expensive Taste

If you want a doorman building and a pool and a workout facility, you have expensive taste!  Though, not really. That sounds amazing. Most people can afford most things (within reason) for a year-ish. So, if you want to see what a doorman building is like, do it through a rental. You can pay more than you should for a year and get it out of your system. A mortgage is forever… or until you sell.

9. Free Heat

During this Polar Vortex season… ’nuff said. (Editor’s Note: not all rentals include free heat, but many do, particularly buildings that have radiators.)

10. You are a Lone Ranger

Owning a condo means working with an association on a regular basis. There are all sorts of rules, some for good and some annoying. Renting is best if you don’t want to devote time to working with your association, as some people really care about things like gardening or painting or how to redo the hallways.

Author My First Apartment

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Alissa Green is a Chicagoan (by way of Brooklyn, Boston, Spain & Ireland), who has lived in more apartments than she has fingers. When she's not leading social for or blogging for, she's either improvising, attempting to cook, or hunting down some kind of wild adventure. She currently lives with her husband in their first condo.

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